2003 October 13 Monday
Bush Administration, Israeli Government Negotiating On Barrier

The Israelis continue to push for White House approval for inclusion of remote settlements on the Israeli side of the barrier.

After publicly criticising the fence and wall that Israel is building in the West Bank, the Bush Administration is quietly negotiating with the Israeli Government to change the route of the barrier. Israel has addressed complaints raised by the United States about particular sections of what it calls a security fence, without drastically altering plans that Palestinians say would prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

Many news articles are written every day about Israelis and Palestinians killed and injured in terrorist attacks, Israeli strikes, ambushes, at checkpoints, and in other ways. A barrier separating Israel from the West Bank and Israel would do more to reduce the death toll than anything else that is within the realm of possibility. The problem is that the Israeli government wants to extent tbe barrier into the West Bank to include remote settlements. But doing so will force more Palestinians onto the Israeli side, cut more Palestinains off from their land and, by making the barrier longer, make the amount of Palestinian land taken by the barrier itself greater.

The Bush Administration ought to stand firm against the Israelis on this issue but it isn't that Congress will let the Bush Administration use the threat to withhold aid as a lever.

There isn't going to be a settlement of the conflict between Israel on one side and the Palestinians and the larger Arab world on the other side for decades to come if ever. The best we can hope for is a separation that keeps the casualty rate down and creates clear morally defensible boundaries.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 October 13 02:44 PM  MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis

Adam said at October 13, 2003 10:03 PM:

Where and by what authority do you consider to be "Palestinian land?"

Who are the Palestinians? What are some unique things about their culture? Who are their historical heroes, going back a couple centuries?

What were "Palestine's" borders, and who were the leaders of this nation "Palestine?"

Randall Parker said at October 13, 2003 11:00 PM:


What is unique about Canadian culture? And yet there is Canada.

Also, in 1770 was was unique about Americans? The vast bulk of them thought themselves Englishmen. Who were the historical heroes of those men? My guess is other Englishmen who had lived in previous centuries in England.

As for the authority for the land being Palestinian: By what authority is not Palestinian? God's?

Also, why is there a country called East Timor? When has there ever historically been a sovereign country called East Timor? Why is there now? Or how about South Korea? Why is there a South Korea? There never was one historically.

Then there is the Slovak Republic. When was there ever a Slovak Republic? How far back if ever? Yet there it is. Why is there a Nigeria? Why is there an Ivory Coast? I could go on. The world is full of countries invented in the last 100 years.

A Berman said at October 14, 2003 6:23 AM:

Hi, Randall, just a couple of points:
1) Indian Kashmir, though highly Muslim, doesn't automatically have a right to separate from Mostly Hindu Kashmir. Same with North Dakota. Sovereignty comes from a combination of law, facts on the ground, and recognized previous claims. Historically, Israel has a claim to sovereignty over the West Bank. The claim comes from a combination of ancient history, from the legacy of anti-Jewish behavior on the part of Europe and the Arab/Muslim world, and from the British Mandate and League of Nations. It may not make strategic sense in your (and many other's) view to push the claim, and you might not consider the claim dispositive, but it is a claim.
2) As far as Adam's claims about non-existance of Palestinian, let's remember that Jerusalem-born, Arabic-speaking Ariel Sharon would be considered Palestinian except that he's a Jew. Now consider that most of historical Palestine is now called Jordan. In essense, the vocabulary over the last 50 years has been altered to disfavor Jewish claims to the area by the creation of a fictional historical Palestine from the Jordan to the Sea which consists only of Arab Muslims and Christians. If Jews had conquered parts of the East Bank, you can be assured that the world would call that part "Palestine" and the conquered Arabs "Palestinians" rather than calling it "Jordan" and "Jordanians."
3) I do not dispute that the West Bank Palestinians have a miserable and tough life. I dispute that their tought life is, by itself, reason enough for Israel to unilaterally drop their claims to the area. Kindness has never been reciprocated to the Jewish State by the Arab States.

A Berman said at October 14, 2003 6:24 AM:

Apologies, first sentence about should read: "Indian Kashmir, though highly Muslim, doesn't automatically have a right to separate from Mostly Hindu India."

Randall Parker said at October 14, 2003 1:49 PM:

A Berman, But at least in Indian Kashmir the residents of the place have legal rights as Indian citizens and are free to travel in and work everywhere in India. The people on the West Bank have been rendered stateless. They can not even freely move around the West Bank. I don't dispute the need to restrict their movements in order to prevent terrorist attacks. But the fact remains that they are stateless and their movements are heavily restricted. If the wall was completed the need to restrict them and to make them suffer various indignities on a daily basis would be much reduced.

I can see a claim for Israel proper based on past Arab and European treatments of the Jews. But Israel has 3 choices at this point:

A) Expel the Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank. Keep in mind that some of them were already scared out of Israel proper and then not allowed to come back.

B) Separate Israel from the West Bank and recognize Palestinian rule of the West Bank.

C) Grant the Palestinians Israeli citizenship.

Some more extremist Zionists (as distinct from the Zionists who are satisfied with Israel proper) would like to do A. They don't want to build a wall because if the Palestinians are expelled there will be no need for a wall. Plus, if there is no wall, settlements expand, and the attacks continue then they can argue for expulsion since those Arabs are such beasts and so on. Of course, every time a remote settlement gets built and some olive groves get seized and travel between two places on either side of the new settlement becomes much more difficult the Arabs will point to this as proof that the Israelis have bad intentions. So everyone can think the worst of each other. Isn't this wonderful?

Option C is demographic suicide for a Jewish state. You want to defend option A?

Look, I don't have a positive view of Arab culture. I certainly take a very dim view of Islam. But just because they aren't fair in their treatment of Israel does not make it either wise or fair for Israel to act in ways that justify to the Palestinians their animosity toward Israel. There is a saying that good fences make good neighbors. Well, in this case I wouldn't go that far but good fences would make better neighbors than would otherwise be the case. Also, good fences would make a moral defense of Israel to the neutrals in the world audience a lot easier to make.

Adam said at October 14, 2003 6:52 PM:


"The people on the West Bank have been rendered stateless."

Please explain to me how Israel is responsible for their statelessness?

Jordan seized Samaria and Judea in 1948. In 1952, the Arabs who lived there were declared Jordanian citizens. Before then, they were British subjects (and before that Ottoman), as were the present day Jordanians. So in effect, they only became stateless AFTER JORDAN REVOKED THEIR CITIZENSHIP.

BTW Israel has 1.2 million Arab citizens, who have full voting rights, equal civil rights, and political parties with members in Knesset, the Israeli parliment. In contrast, Jews were expelled from every Arab country - there were about 750,000 Jewish refugees after the 1948 war.

Israel absorbed the refugees, while in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Palestinian Arabs can not attend university or buy land, forget about vote. (as if a vote mattered in Lebanon, which is OCCUPIED by Syria), and Kuwait, who expelled their Palesinian population after the first Gulf War after the Palestinians sided en masse with Saddam Hussein.

"A) Expel the Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank. Keep in mind that some of them were already scared out of Israel proper and then not allowed to come back."

You do know that they were urged to get out of the way by invading Arab armies, who promised a war to exterminate all of the Jews, right? There's lots of original primary source material to prove it, so please don't do something little and sad like quote some Edward Said or Noam Chomsky (or Yossi Beilin for that matter!) at me.

Also, ironic isn't it, that "remove all the 'settlements' from the west bank" esentially means ethnically cleansing all of the Jews from an area that they have lived for thousands of years? It would make Hebron "Judenrien." Adolph would be proud!

"B) Separate Israel from the West Bank and recognize Palestinian rule of the West Bank."

Recognize which Palestinian rule?

Maybe Palestinan rule that doesn't name schools and streets after genocidal jihad "martyrs" like the current one does? Too bad Arafat had most of them systematically killed as "collaborators."

"C) Grant the Palestinians Israeli citizenship."

1.2 million already have it. Why doesn't Jordan reinstate their citizenship, even better? And Egypt for the Gazan terrorists.

"Also, good fences would make a moral defense of Israel to the neutrals in the world audience a lot easier to make."

The moral argument is self apparent to anyone with morals.

Randall Parker said at October 14, 2003 7:31 PM:

Adam, Yes, Jordan revoked their citizenship. They were living in land that Jordan lost control of. Not very nice of Jordan to do that. But they are stateless. They didn't revoke their own citizenship.

Yes, I know that as many Jews were expelled or persecuted out of Arab countries as there were Arabs who lost the ability to live in what became Israel. But I think you are leaving out the fact that not only were some Arab countries telling the Arabs to flee but there were Jewish terrorist organisations committing acts that caused them to flee too. Also, the Israelis had the option of letting them return but opted to keep them out. So it is obvious that the Israelis wanted them out as well.

So which of the three options are you for?

Adam said at October 14, 2003 8:25 PM:


Palestinains who left their homes in 1948 did so because they fervently hoped that Arab armies would come and kill all the Jews who lived among them. Much to these Arabs dissapointment, it didn't work out that way. You might want to read this: http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_independence_refugees_arabs_why.php

The Secretary of the Arab League Office in London, Edward Atiyah, wrote in his book, The Arabs:

This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boastings of an unrealistic Arabic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re­enter and retake possession of their country.

In his memoirs, Haled al Azm, the Syrian Prime Minister in 1948­49, also admitted the Arab role in persuading the refugees to leave:

Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. Only a few months separated our call to them to leave and our appeal to the United Nations to resolve on their return.

Monsignor George Hakim, a Greek Orthodox Catholic Bishop of Galilee told the Beirut newspaper, Sada al­Janub (August 16, 1948):

The refugees were confident their absence would not last long, and that they would return within a week or two. Their leaders had promised them that the Arab armies would crush the 'Zionist gangs' very quickly and that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile.
One refugee quoted in the Jordan newspaper, Ad Difaa (September 6, 1954), said:

The Arab government told us: Get out so that we can get in. So we got out, but they did not get in.

Habib Issa said in the New York Lebanese paper, Al Hoda (June 8, 1951):

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade. He pointed out that they were already on the frontiers and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean....Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes and property and to stay temporarily in neighboring fraternal states, lest the guns of the invading Arab armies mow them down.

Please, tell me what you think a viable solution is.

Randall Parker said at October 14, 2003 8:57 PM:

Adam, Isn't a more parsimonious explanation that they left their homes because they thought they'd be safer that way? I mean, otherwise why flee? They had the fear of war passing thru their neighborhoods. The recent example of WWII showed how modern war totally destroyed cities as the fighting passed thru the cities. They had the fear of Irgun and other groups. So why not leave until the fighting is over? If I'd been an Arab in Haifa who bore no ill will toward the Jews I'd probably have fled. People do it the world over. Every time the tensions heighten in the Korean peninsula a lot of South Koreans decide it is time for a vacation.

A viable partial solution is to build big walls. There is no way that the Arabs are going to decide deep down to accept Israel. The best that can be hoped for is to reduce the number of points of conflict by physical separation. Building remote settlements that cause the Palestinians and the Jews to constantly cross paths and to see each other's neighborhoods is a recipe for on-going strife.

In the long run I think the problem of nuclear proliferation is going to create a true existential threat for Israel. The terrorism is killing no more people than car accidents. Nukes are a much bigger threat. I don't know what to do about that aside from a preemption strategy. We need that to keep nukes out of the hand of Al Qaeda and similar groups anyhow. But I don't see the political will existing to carry the strategy far enough to be successful.

I'm a pessimist on how the world is going. I think it is going to take some horrible attacks before people wake up to the developing threats.

Adam said at October 15, 2003 8:00 AM:

Michael wrote: "Adam, Isn't a more parsimonious explanation that they left their homes because they thought they'd be safer that way?"

Isn't a simpler answer to take Arab leaders of the time at their word, such as the quotes I have provided above?

"terrorism is killing no more people than car accidents."

Good to know where you stand on the value of Israeli life in this equation. I'll make a note of that.

"I think it is going to take some horrible attacks before people wake up to the developing threats."

You might just aid the cause by re-evaluating the integration of Jihadist propaganda into your world view, rather than holding on to it so tightly that you ignore the primary source material and keep asking the same question rather than absorbing the source material and re-evaluating your 'belief.'

Randall Parker said at October 15, 2003 9:39 AM:

Adam, Why do people follow leaders? Because they see an interest in doing so. Why would people flee a war zone? Just because leaders told them to do so? After all, that means abandoning one's property to potential looting. But if it decreases your odds of dying then fleeing becomes a logical thing to do regardless of what leaders say.

The value of Israeli life: You can keep imagining intent that I don't have if it makes you feel any better but my obvious point is that terrorism as currently practiced by the Palestininans doesn't threaten the survival of the state of Israel. It is tragic but the state can survive it.

Jihadist propaganda in my world view? How long have you been reading my site? It is obvious that you don't understand my world view at all.

Adam said at October 15, 2003 9:59 AM:

Randall wrote: "Adam, Why do people follow leaders? Because they see an interest in doing so. Why would people flee a war zone? Just because leaders told them to do so?"

I provided a number of primary sources. Arabs started leaving long before the war started, based on the expectations set by their leaders that Arab armies would come and annihilate the Jews.

I'm frankly confused at why you choose to ignore these sources and instead make up an explanation based on nothing buy your own assumptions.

Randall wrote: "Jihadist propaganda in my world view? How long have you been reading my site? It is obvious that you don't understand my world view at all."

Yes, on the Arab-Israeli issue you are woefully under-educated. Even worse, you dismiss information that doesn't fit your preconceptions, preferring to make things up that do fit your preconceptions.

Randall Parker said at October 15, 2003 3:20 PM:

Adam, Woefully undereducated? You think you have so far told me anything I didn't already know? Yes, I knew decades ago what the Arab leaders were saying in 1948. I've also dug up charts showing country-by-country how many Jews fled Arab lands in the 1940s and 1950s (about as many as there were Palestinians who were not let back into Israel after the war stopped) and I'm well aware of that Jews were, in different cases, deported, scared into leaving, or forced to stay and be persecuted and so they had to sneak out of Arab lands. I know the Jordanian constitution doesn't allow Jews to be citizens or that most Jordanian females who marry Palestinian males can't have the Palestinian males move to Jordan to be with them (in spite of a recent proposal to allow it) and that the Arab countries keep many Palestinians in refugee camps to create permanent aggrieved parties against Israel. I know a hell of a lot more about the history and current conditions in the Middle East than you think I do. But you can go into history, grab a few quotes that support your interpretation, and yet reach false conclusions.

You are ignoring the motivations of those who fled. How about attacks by Israeli terrorists? Did they have anything to do with it? How about the fear of being in a war zone that has bullets and shells flying around? Why would the residents of Haifa flee unless they thought it would be safer to do so? Why would they heed the call of Arab leaders? You can quote these leaders but why did people flee? Individuals act for reasons. They act out of fear or greed or love or whatever. What did they have to gain from fleeing? Their lives. What else would they have gotten out of it individually?

You don't like my analysis and therefore you attribute the source of my analysis to people who you think are disreputable and to be despised. The bizarre thing about this is that I too have a very dim view of Noam Chomsky and Edward Said and the Islamists for that matter. I just reach conclusions you don't like and therefore you think I'm reaching my conclusions by reading propaganda. Well, you don't know what I've read or know about history. I know a lot more than you apparently think I do. I can also see the propaganda coming from all factions for what it is: propaganda. All the factions are very selective with their facts.

I support the existence of Israel and think the Jews have a right to be ruled by themselves after their treatment by the Arabs and Europeans alike. But some of what Israel has been doing for decades running is unwise strategically and unfair to those Palestinians who haven't actually tried to do anything against Israel.

Adam said at October 15, 2003 5:24 PM:

Randall wrote: "You are ignoring the motivations of those who fled. How about attacks by Israeli terrorists? Did they have anything to do with it? How about the fear of being in a war zone that has bullets and shells flying around? Why would the residents of Haifa flee unless they thought it would be safer to do so? Why would they heed the call of Arab leaders? You can quote these leaders but why did people flee? Individuals act for reasons. They act out of fear or greed or love or whatever. What did they have to gain from fleeing? Their lives. What else would they have gotten out of it individually?"

Since their leadership and the Arab League made a monumentally bad decision by rejecting the proposed division and decided instead to invade, the bullets they would have been fleeing from would have been ARAB bullets. They fled to territory controlled by countries that promised the genocidal invasion, not to far-off lands, but to the other side of the front lines, throwing their lot in with the armies they expected to be victorious. When these armies lost, the fate of the refugees was really incumbent on them. Some of the quotes I showed you even say as much.

What would they have gotten for it "individually?" Well, Arab culture isn't defined by individuality, it's defined by clan and family alliances. What they would have gotten was the genocide of the Jews, the same thing that the PLO and HAMAS charters both call for, the very thing that their heros, the Arab armies were seeking to perpetrate.

BTW the "Jewish Terrorism" argument is a red herring. You might quote 2 or 3 isolated incidents, but there is no denying that for Jews "terrorism" is universally shunned and was very isolated, while for Arabs it has been their primary tactic for the last century.

Unfortunately, a people bear the brunt of the poor decisions of their leaders. Israel's primary responsibility is to it's own citizens, not to another people whose "brethren" made promises they couldn't deliver on, and then never made right.

Palestinian Arabs aren't stateless, they are disposessed Egyptians and Jordanians. "Palestinian" is a term that once referred to Jews, and was co-opted by the Arabs after the 1948 war.

The final borders are subject to negotiations by the parties, but there has, in the last 50 years, not been a viable Arab leader to negotiate with, because their goal is unanimously the destruction of Israel. They only vary in the means to accomplish it, military or demographic.

Samaria and Judea are not in their part or entirety "Palestinian Arab" land, nor are they "occupied" since the countries that previously claimed them have given up their claims. It is now "disputed" territory, if you want to get technical, whose borders are subject to negotiation by the parties, taking into account Israel's security requirements. The Green Line is not the demarcation point of this border, it is merely a cease fire line, and is indefensible.

The PLO was founded in 1964, 3 years before 1967, when East Jerusalem was in Arab hands as was Judea and Samaria, which had been made Judenrein by the Jordanians. In 1964, there was no "occupation." The goal of the PLO was (and is) the destruction of Israel. It's in their charter, which was never amended. Arab terrorism far predates "settlements," thus it's mistaken to think that "settlements" cause "terrorism."

Unfortunately given that the PLO has indoctrinated generations of Arabs to genocidally hate Jews, there is unfortunately no solution at this time, and you are hopelessly naive to think that makeing Hebron free from Hebrews will stop terrorism "inside" the green line.

In the meanwhile, the Palestinian Arabs will continue to suffer for the actions of their leaders and countrymen, communists like Fatah and jihadists like HAMAS.

What problem exactly do you think making Samaria and Judea free from Jews will solve?

I don't "dislike your analysis," you haven't expressed any analysis. You have shown a clear understanding of at least some of the relevent facts, yet come to a conclusion which is not supported by them, with your conclusion entirely drawn from speculation after dismissing the facts.

On this issue, you aren't holding yourself up to your usual standards.

Bob Badour said at October 15, 2003 6:55 PM:


Randall's analysis is quite rational. Yours is not.

Randall never claimed the PLO would never have existed except for the settlements. He claimed the PLO would have less support among the general population were the settlements abandoned. As it is, Palestinians and anti-zionists the world over can point to the settlements and condemn Israel for its immoral behaviour. Abandon the settlements and Israel's opponents lose a rallying point.

If you can, consider the possibility for a moment that only a minority of the people in the world are rabid anti-semites. Perhaps a large number of people are more-or-less neutral with regard to their prejudice. The settlements sway the opinion of those people toward anti-semitism and anti-zionism. If Israel abandons the settlements and builds a strong fence, most of the world won't give a rat's ass about Israel after sufficient time elapses. Consider that nobody gives a rat's ass about Canada or about Switzerland or about Andorra, and ask yourself whether that's not the direction to go in if you want peace.

Randall Parker said at October 15, 2003 7:27 PM:


Lots of French, Belgian, and Dutch people were killed by British, Canadian, and American forces advancing toward Germany. Villages and towns that had more civilians than German soldiers in them were bombed and shelled. Fighting forces did end up killing lots of friendly civilians. 1948 was close to 1944 and 1945. Surely the Arabs in Israel knew they were taking risks by staying in a place that might become a war zone. They had no idea how the war would go.

The Arab leaders told the Arabs to flee why exactly? To minimize Arab casualties. Why did the Arabs flee? To avoid their own death or injury. Else, there was no point to fleeing. Your own quote "Well, Arab culture isn't defined by individuality, it's defined by clan and family alliances. " argues against your position. Yes, they are clannish and practice consanguineous marriage at a very high rate. I've written about this at length. They do not trust states. This explains why they lose wars and have corrupt governments among other things. Why should an extended family in Haifa have decided to trust, say, the leader of Egypt?

Dispossessed people are stateless.

Jewish terrorism: You are shifting into the future. We are discussing 1948 and why the Arabs fled. One reason was fear of the terrorism. The terrorists really were trying to get the Arabs to flee. While the main Israeli leaders opposed their practices the result really was to increase the number of Arabs who fled and those Arabs were not allowed back. The leaders therefore took advantage of both the Arab fear of terrorism and the fear of Arabs of being in a war zone and didn't allow those who fled to come back.

Arab terrorism predates settlements and yet settlements are an aggravating factor. That one factor contributes to a problem does mean that it is the sole factor that does. I'm not defending terrorism here. I'm talking about motives. The settlements increase motives.

Why has terrorism gotten so bad? Lots of reasons. One is that the US and Israel were stupid enough to make the Oslo deal with Arafat (and I've read what he said in a speech to repudiate the idea that it was a peace deal the next day after he signed it - and his repudiation was completely predictable) and let Arafat and his gang to take control of the Palestinians. Did the Palestinians make that decision? No. Any Palestinians who oppose Arafat are likely to get beat up or shot. Effectively Oslo made the US, Israel, and Arafat all their oppressors.

Large numbers of Palestinian Christians have responded by fleeing to other countries. Palestinian Christians have had their land and houses taken by settlers and they've been oppressed by Arafat. Arafat's gang has even put snipers in Christian houses in order to cause the IDF to retaliate by shooting at and chewing up Palestinian Christians in hope of sparking more international outrage. But few care.

Getting Jews off the West Bank: It will allow a clear physical barrier to be made to separate Jews from the West Bank Palestinians. It will reduce the amount of terrorism by reducing motive and also making it harder to do. It will save Israeli lives. It will avoid a demographic condition that would make the Israeli state unviable (if the Israelis want to hang onto more land they ought to have more babies - seriously). It will make Israel's moral position less ambiguous.

Do you think it is moral to seize people's land? Do you think it is moral to dispossess people of their homes? That is what Israel has been doing on the West Bank for decades. The settlers are not just occupying unowned and unoccupied land. They have evicted many people. Do you think that wise? I don't.

Terrorism inside the "green line": Most of the attacks are staged from the West Bank. So will a barrier stop all terrorism? No, I never said it would. Go back up and read thru my comments. I use the term "reduce" and said "The best we can hope for is a separation that keeps the casualty rate down". I don't appreciate it when someone converts my arguments to strawmen that are not what I said it order to make a contrary argument easier to make.

Yes, on this issue I am up to my usual standards. I am just taking a position you really do not like.

Adam said at October 15, 2003 9:25 PM:


First, let me say that it is a pleasure to be able to discuss this topic rationally when the two discusees have differing viewpoints. A lesser person than yourself would have degraded into obtuse charges of "Zionazi!" by now. Also, I recognize that you clearly have a better understanding of middle east political realities than the average American, which is why I feel our conversation is productive.

If you want to frame the topic of this discussion to the net result of various choices re: Samaria and Judea, then I will stick to that subject.

I agree 100% that Oslo was a colossal mistake. The argument that you make is the same that right wing MK's in Israel such as Natan Sharansky and Benny Elon make. I'm not sure if you have heard of Benny Elon's peace plan proposal? I think it's a lot more realistic than the fraudulent "roadmap" which is nothing but an Oslo redux.

Randall wrote: "Do you think it is moral to seize people's land? Do you think it is moral to dispossess people of their homes?"

Is it any more moral to disposess Jews who live in ancient communities in Samaria and Judea to try to appease genocidal terrorists? That's surely what you describe as "reduce the amount of terrorism by reducing motive" by removing Jewish communities. It means to the Jihadists: Your Jihad has brought victory, this is a tactic that works, now that the Jews are gone from Judea and Samaria, we will use the same tactic to drive them from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa.

Do you really see the outcome as being any different than the outcome of Barak's withdrawl under fire from South Lebanon? Is Israel any safer today for having exited Lebanon? On the contrary, it has increased the risk by encouraging Hizballah and all the other Palestinian terrorists that their tactics of suicide bombing and kidnapping work.

The one single biggest mistake the UN and US made was turning the Israeli military victories into political losses by not letting the Arab states feel the consequences of their own actions, which is why they have made the same mistakes multiple times. My argument regarding responsibility for Palestinian refugees is that they were caused by this very Arab rejectionism, and taking actions like negotiating with the current Palestinian "leadership" or unilaterally essentially giving them the first step of what they want, or in any other way rewarding their terrorism and doing anything but killing them or eliminating their ability and will to fight is counterproductive. The PLO and Hamas and co. can not be negotiated with, and giving them a victory by withdrawing will raise, rather than lower their stature.

I think there are a really two other main points of contention here:
What do the relevent treaties say about the final borders?

As I see the relevent treaties, they are to be negotiated by the parties, the "Green Line" is said by no agreement or UN resolution to be a permanant border. It's the 1949 armisitce line, and the border Arafat wants for the first "stage" of his conquest and destruction of Israel, and nothing more. Also, the case can be strongly made using the wording of Resolution 242 and commentary about it's meaning by it's authors that Israel is in full compliance with Resolution 242 since it returned the Sinai Peninsula and signed a peace treaty with Jordan. If you think there is an alternative case to be made using the relevent UN resolutions and peace treaties, then I'm all ears, but I think the only way you can make any other argument is by using something other than the peace treaties and UN resoltions as a starting point, or by using alternative worldview arguments such as Islamist ideology that once a land has been part of the Ummah, it must remain so or else you are required to become a mujaheddin and fight in Jihad against the haram infidel usurper crusader, sons of monkeys and pigs etc etc etc.

What will reduce Palestinian terrorism and move them in the right direction?

You seem to think capitualting to their demands will do it, I think that previous examples such as with Hizballah show that approach to be wrong, built on false assumptions of the effect that ceding Samaria and Judea would have. The Lebanon example was completely counter, as was the Egyptian peace agreement which is at best a cold peace and at worst Egyptian military helping Palestinian tunneling smugglers, and encitement in Egyptian schools and media against Jews. (not just against Israel.)

I think that's a pretty good summation of both of our key points? I'm looking forward to your response.

Randall Parker said at October 16, 2003 12:07 AM:


I agree that Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon after an extended period of attacks on them emboldened Arafat and his allies. No doubt about it. I think it was a mistake not to pull out much sooner so that the withdrawal would not seem to be a response to the pressure of the attacks. But keep in mind that the Israeli casualty rate due to attacks from the Lebanese is lower than it was when the IDF was still in south Lebanon.

Israeli withdrawal from occupancy of remote settlements in the West Bank will also be interpreted by some Palestinians that terrorism works. But there may be ways to lessen the impact. First of all, if Israel first completes the wall and thereby greatly reduces the ability of the PA/PLO and Hamas and IJ to launch attacks into Israel they will know that they have lost considerable leverage (which is the biggest reason why they oppose the wall IM0). The existence of the wall basically reduces the pressure on Israel and therefore any move that Israel makes after that will seem less like a response to pressure.

I don't want to see Israeli withdrawal from the remote West Bank settlements in order to capitulate to demands. I just think that the Palestinians deserve a place they can call home that is not sliced up into small pieces. They should be able to lead lives that are far less abnormal. Driving 10 miles shouldn't be an unpredictable affair that takes hours or days.

As a practical matter, suppose Israel completes the wall. What will the PLO gang be able to do to attack Israel? They have people who travel in cars or walk across fields to get into Israel to blow themselves up. Once there is a wall they will find that hard to do. They can feel emboldened. Yeah, so what? What good will it do to feel all worked up if they are effectively bottled up? The Palestinians may start building missiles and using mortars at that point. But then the IDF ought to respond by going in and killing some PA/PLO leaders if that happens. Hold them responsible.

The mistake that Israel made was to not build the wall and withdraw from the remote settlements before Intifada II started. Then it would not have seemed like a retreat. The peace faction wanted a negotiated solution that made the wall unnecessary. They were fantasizing. It took a lot of dead to wake them up. The settlements supporters opposed the wall because they wanted to settle more and more of the West Bank. Both factions inflicted upon Israel a position that now leaves you worried that a withdrawal will embolden the enemy. Yet the barrier separating the Gaza Strip has resulted in very few attacks on Israel from Gaza in spite of the settlements in Gaza (said settlements are also a dumb idea IMO). That barrier has been very beneficial.

Israel could just leave the remote settlements and not include them on the Israeli side of the barrier. Barriers could be built surrounding the settlements. Ever looked at a map that shows all the settlements in the West Bank? If they were all included the West Bank barrier would either look like a zig-zag pattern with many zig-zags and with even more Palestinians included on the Israeli side or it would have to be straight and basically include the bulk of the Palestinians. What would be the point of doing that?

As for what will move the Palestinians in the right direction: Be clear that I don't think there is a great solution to the problem. There are only choices that are more or less bad. There are things wrong with Arab societies in general that are hard to fix. Islam is one of them. Consanguineous marriage is another. There are things even more wrong with the Palestinians at this point that are going to take at least decades to wear off.

You know, I don't care that much about the treaty interpretations. I've read all the arguments about the meaning of 242 and read historical accounts of it written by negotiators from Britain and the US who were involved in its wording. But I don't much like the UN in the first place and try not to cite UN Security Council resolutions as arguments for any course of action.

Egypt and cold peace: yes, of course it is. Still, Egypt hasn't attacked and won't for the foreseeable future.

Look, I don't think that the Israelis and the Palestinians can live together. I think the evidence is now overwhelming on that point. They need physical separation. I want to see that separation accomplished in a way that allows the West Bank Palestinians to not be reminded and inconvenienced daily by the barrier. The goal should be to reduce the extent to which most people on both sides think about each other. This means that Israel should end its dependence on Palestinian labor. This also means that the Palestinians should be able to move from town to town on their side via direct routes and not around jutting thin barrier lines that extend 10 or 12 miles into the West Bank to take in a remote settlement.

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